On 18 August, the Direct Marketing Association (‘DMA’) issued its new Privacy Code of Practice (‘Code’) to address customer concerns about data privacy. The Code is a result of an 18-month consultation with the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and Ofcom.

The Code focuses on five key principles:

  • Put your customer first
  • Respect privacy
  • Be honest and fair
  • Be diligent with data
  • Take responsibility

The Code contains desirable outcomes for each principle. For example, a customer receiving a ‘positive and transparent experience throughout their association with the company’ is a specified outcome against the ‘put your customer first’ principle.

The principles form a useful tool that encourages self-regulation and seeks to cultivate a relationship of trust with customers. Rather than issue a rule-based system, the DMA’s new Code provides flexibility to members to determine the way they will comply with both the principles and the law.

The Code will be enforced by the DM Commission, the industry’s independent watchdog. Breaking the Code will result in DMA members being expelled from the association, a move which is likely to cause reputational damage.